Families, Teachers, Disabilities, On line Modules, Standards


Decades of research have demonstrated that family involvement significantly contributes to improved student outcomes relating to learning and overall school success. Teachers must be prepared to promote effective family involvement in the education of all children including those students with disabilities. Many factors can be attributed to successful outcomes for a student with a disability both in the school and the broader community. Families of children with disabilities can be one of these significant factors, yet teachers and those who prepare teachers are often ill prepared and lack essential skills and basic knowledge about the process of partnering with families of children with disabilities. The present study attempted to build on what we already know about family involvement and teacher preparation. The research was situated within an urban metropolitan university college of education. This study sought to determine the effectiveness of a content related module on the knowledge and disposition of pre-service teachers. The module contained content centered on the areas of family involvement, partnerships, and assumptions about families. The study included two dependant variables: level of knowledge and disposition. The independent variable was the experimental treatment, an online instructional module. The module was conceptualized as an instructional tool to expose participants, students preparing to be teachers, to the role attitudes and beliefs play in developing relationships with others; understanding family perspectives; and examining one's own attitudes and beliefs about families of children with disabilities. The control variables included age, gender and GPA. The research question was: does increasing knowledge regarding family involvement of children with disabilities have an impact on pre service teachers' disposition? The sample included 93 pre service general education students attending the same undergraduate college of education. Subjects were enrolled in an introductory special education course. Sample comprised of all females between the ages of 20 and 50. In order to test the outcome of the treatment intervention, the study utilized a quasi-experimental design with an experimental group and comparison group, and pretest and posttest means. Randomization of the experimental group and comparison group was not possible. It was hypothesized that, while controlling for age, gender and pretest scores, those students who participated in the group intervention by completing the instructional online module would have a change in disposition and increase in knowledge scores as compared to those in the comparison group. It was further hypothesized, while controlling for age, gender and pre test scores, student written responses to two questions based on a case study (scored using rubric) would correlate positively with their disposition and knowledge scores as measured by self report following completion of the intervention. Findings indicate that students' level of knowledge increased significantly over time. The measure of disposition did not change significantly over time


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Graduation Date





Martin, Suzanne


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education


Child, Family, and Community Sciences

Degree Program

Exceptional Education








Release Date

May 2005

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)